Selections from tbe
poems of Xionel Jobnson
.ONDON ELKIN MATHEWS, VIGO STREET, W.
The Vigo Cabinet Series
An Occasional Miscellany oj Prose and Verse.
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No 8 IBSEN'S (HENRIK) LYRICAL POEMS. Selected and
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No 24 THE SHADOW OF THE GLEN AND RIDERS TO
THE SEA. By J. M. Synge.
POEMS BY LIONEL JOHNSON
THE POEMS OF
Including some now collected for the first time
With a Prefatory Memoir
I #4 W 3
ELKIN MATHEWS, VIGO STREET
The Poems in this collection are chosen
from " Poems ," 1895, and "Ireland
and other 'Poems,' iSgy (the
latter volume is out of print).
The three poems at the
end are reprinted by
of the Ed: tor
I have been asked to write a few words of introduction
! to the following selection from the poems of the late Lionel
! Johnson. I am impressed by the fact that this should have
h been done by one who knew him more intimately — by
l Mrs. Tynan Hinkson or by Mr. Selwyn Image, for example.
~ My only claim to write is based upon a profound esteem for
3 Mr. Johnson's literary work ; he was distinguished alike as
a poet and a prose writer, and in both departments he must
ultimately command a larger public than has hitherto been his.
He was a true poet and a tine critic. Those who knew Lionel
Johnson mourned him deeply when his life was cut short in
1902 at the early age of thirty-five. That slight boyish frame
enclosed a brilliant intellect, remarkable intuitive power
t as to the best in literature, and an extraordinary fund of
^ knowledge. With some people the capacity for assimilating
books at an early age seems well nigh miraculous. When
Dr. Johnson said that he knew more at seventeen than " now,"
speaking as an old man, he did but note the facility with
which youth, in certain isolated cases, can acquire knowledge.
In the same way, there was something incredible, passing
wonderful, in the quantity of good books that Lionel Johnson
had absorbed at the age of twenty-two, when I first made
his acquaintance. He was at home with every phase of
Church History, and able to expose with accurate learning the
numerous errors in a certain " Biographical Dictionary of the
Fathers " in many volumes that appeared some fifteen years
back. He knew his Boswell's " Johnson " well nigh by
heart : that was a small matter ; but he knew the period from
a hundred other books with an equal familiarity. His
knowledge of the 18th century was indeed profound, and he
had the same keen knowledge of the 19th. His appreciation
of Thomas Hardy's genius led him to write a book on that
subject, only less masterly than his appreciations of a hundred
other authors of the Georgian or Victorian eras.
Born at Broadstairs in 1867, Lionel Johnson was
educated at Winchester and at New College, Oxford, where
in 1890 he came out in Class I. in the Final Classical School.
It was then that he threw himself with enthusiasm into all
questions concerning Ireland, although his relations with
that country were originally of the slightest, and could not
in the least have influenced the bend of his mind towards
sympathy with Ireland's aspirations. In fact his grandfather
had been a Captain of Yeomanry at New Ross in 1798.*
It pleased Lionel Johnson, however, in those years in
which I knew him, to consider himself an Irishman, and he
threw himself with zeal into all movements affecting the
welfare of that imaginative people ; he loved the land, visited
it frequently, assimilated its traditions, its aspirations. Those
of us who knew him in the years of his London life between
1890 and 1902, found him in intimate friendship with the Irish
* Lionel Johnson was of the family of Sir Henry Allen Johnson of Bath,
4th baronet, and was the son of Captain William Victor Johnson, second
son of the 2nd baronet. An elder brother of Lionel fought at Atbara and
Khartoum and was mentioned in despatches. Lionel Johnson's Irish descent
was through theist baronet, Sir Henry Johnson of Ballykilcaven, who was
Governor of Ross Castle.
colony in London and, indeed, essentially an Irishman
fighting the battles of that country's literature, sympathising
heartily with all its efforts to preserve individuality and
national character. Again and again in stirring lines he
breathed the spirit of enthusiasm for Ireland's great men
past and present. Addressing the late John O'Lcary, a dear
friend who was destined to survive him but a few short
years, he wrote in " Ways of War":—
" A terrible and splendid trust
Heartens the host of Inisfail,
Their dream is of the swift sword-thrust,
A lightning glory of the Gael."
We find the earliest poems by Lionel Johnson in the
" Book of the Rhymers' Club," of which two series are on
our shelves. After these he published, in 1895, a volume
entitled " Poems," and in 1897 one called " Ireland, with
Other Poems." Here, fairly complete, we have the poetical
work of Johnson, but, as I have said, he was also a prose
writer of distinction. We read his essays and reviews in
the Academy, the Daily Chronicle, and in the now extinct
Anti-Jacobin, I have often wished that the best of these
essays might be collected by one of his friends — by Mrs.
Hinkson, or by Mr. H. W. Nevinson for example.
Let us hope that the publication of this little volume will
give an impetus to the wider distribution of much other work
from the same pen.
Great Missenden, Bucks.
To Morfydd ...... 16
Plato in London 18
In Falmouth Harbour 20
By the Statue of King Charles at Charing
The Precept of Silence .... 27
Hill and Vale . 28
Mystic and Cavalier 30
Summer Storm 32
Ireland's Dead 33
Sancta Silvarum 38
The Dark Angel 40
The Church of a Dream .... 45
The Age of a Dream ... -46
Upon Reading Certain Poems 55
Late Love 57
Love's Ways 58
Hawker of Morwenstow 60
To a Friend ...... .61
Ash Wednesday 62
To the fairest !
Then to thee
Consecrate and bounden be,
Winchester! this verse of mine.
Ah, that loveliness of thine !
To have lived enchaunted years
Free from sorrows, free from fears,
Where thy Tower's great shadow falls
Over those proud buttressed walls ;
Whence a purpling glory pours
From high heaven's inheritors,
Throned within the arching stone !
To have wandered, hushed, alone,
Gently round thy fair, fern-grown .
Chauntry of the Lilies, lying
Where the soft night winds go sighing
Round thy Cloisters, in moonlight
Branching dark, or touched with white
Round old, chill aisles, where moon-smitten
Blanches the Orate, written
Under each worn, old-world face
Graven on Death's holy place !
To the noblest !
None but thee.
Blest our living eyes, that see
Half a thousand years fulfilled
Of that age, which Wykeham willed
Thee to win ; yet all unworn,
As upon that first March morn,
When thine honoured city saw
Thy young beauty without flaw,
Born within her water-flowing,
Ancient hollows, by wind-blowing
Hills enfolded ever more.
Thee, that lord of splendid lore,
, Orient from old Hellas' shore,
Grocyn, had to mother : thee,
Of most high philosophy
Honours, in thy wizard Browne :
Tender Otway's dear renown,
Mover of a perfect pity,
Victim of the iron city,
Thine to cherish is : and thee,
Laureate of Liberty ;
Harper of the Highland faith,
Elf, and faery, and wan wraith ;
Chaunting softly, chaunting slowly,
Minstrel of all melancholy ;
Master of all melody,
Made to cling round memory ;
Passion's poet, Evening's voice,
Collins glorified. Rejoice,
Mother ! in thy sons : for all
Love thine immemorial
Name, august and musical.
Not least he, who left thy side,
For his sire's, thine earlier pride,
Arnold : whom we mourn to-day,
Prince of song, and gone away
To his brothers of the bay :
Thine the love of all his years ;
His be now thy praising tears.
To the dearest !
Ah, to thee !
Hast thou not in all to me
Mother, more than mother, been ?
Well toward thee may Mary Queen
Bend her with a mother's mien;
Who so rarely dost express
An inspiring tenderness,
Woven with thy sterner strain,
Prelude of the world's true pain.
But two years, and still my feet
Found thy very stones more sweet,
Than the richest fields elsewhere :
Two years, and thy sacred air
Still poured balm upon me, when
Nearer drew the world of men ;
When the passions, one by one,
All sprang upward to the sun :
Two years have I lived, still thine;
Lost, thy presence ! gone, that shrine,
Where six years, what years ! were mine.
Music is the thought of thee ;
Fragrance, all thy memory.
Those thy rugged Chambers old,
In their gloom and rudeness, hold
Dear remembrances of gold.
Some first blossoming of flowers
Made delight of all the hours ;
Greatness, beauty, all things fair
Made the spirit of thine air :
Old years live with thee ; thy sons
Walk with high companions.
Then, the natural joy of earth,
Joy of very health and birth !
Hills, upon a summer noon :
Water Meads, on eves of June :
Chamber Court, beneath the moon :
Days of spring, on Twyford Down,
Or when autumn woods grew brown ;
As they looked, when here came Keats,
Chaunting of autumnal sweets ;
Throught this city of old haunts,
Murmuring immortal chaunts ;
As when Pope, art's earlier king,
Here, a child, did nought but sing ;
Sang, a child, by nature's rule,
Round the trees of Twyford School :
Hours of sun beside Mead's Wall,
Ere the may begin to fall ;
Watching the rooks rise and soar,
High from lime and sycamore :
Wanderings by old-world ways,
Walks and streets of ancient days
Closes, churches, arches, halls,
Vanished men's memorials.
There was beauty, there was grace,
Each place was an holy place :
There the kindly fates allowed
Me too room ; and made me proud,
Prouder name I have not wist !
With the name of Wykehamist.
These thy joys : and more than these :
Ah, to watch beneath thy trees,
Through long twilights linden-scented,
Sunsets, lingering, lamented,
In the purple west ; prevented,
Ere they fell, by evening star I
Ah, long nights of Winter ! far
Leaps and roars the faggot fire ;
Ruddy smoke rolls higher, higher,
Broken through by name's desire;
Circling faces glow, all eyes
Take the light; deep radiance flies,
Merrily flushing overhead
Names of brothers, long since fled ;
And fresh clusters, in their stead,
Jubilant round fierce forest flame.
Friendship too must make her claim
But what songs, what memories end,
When they tell of friend on friend ?
And for them, I thank thy name.
Love alone of gifts, no shame
Lessens, and I love thee : yet
Sound it but of echoes, let
This my maiden music be,
Of the love I bear to thee,
Witness and interpreter,
Mother mine : loved Winchester I
A voice on the winds,
A voice by the waters,
Wanders and cries :
Oh I what are the winds P
And ivhat are the waters P
Mine are your eyes !
Western the winds are,
And western the waters,
Where the light lies :
Oh/ what are the winds P
And what are the zvatersP
Mine are your eyes !
Cold, cold, grow the winds,
And wild grow the waters,
Where the sun dies :
Oh ! what are the winds P
And what are the waters P
Mine are your eyes !
And down the night winds,
And down the night waters,
The music flies .
Oh ! zvhat are the winds ?
And what are the waters ?
Cold be the zvitids,
A fid ivild be the zvaters,
So ?nine be your eyes !
Plato in London
The pure flame of one taper fall
Over the old and comely page :
No harsher light disturb at all
This converse with a treasured sage.
Seemly, and fair, and of the best,
If Plato be our guest,
Should things befall.
Without, a world of noise and cold :
Here, the soft burning of the fire.
And Plato walks, where heavens unfold,
About the home of his desire.
From his own city of high things,
He shows to us, and brings,
Truth of fine gold.
PLATO IN LONDON
The hours pass : and the fire burns low ;
The clear flame dwindles into death :
Shut then the book with care ; and so,
Take leave of Plato, with hushed breath :
A little, by the falling gleams,
Tarry the gracious dreams :
And they too go.
Lean from the window to the air ;
Hear London's voice upon the night !
Thou hast hold converse with things rare
Look now upon another sight !
The calm stars, in their living skies :
And then, these surging cries,
This restless glare !
That starry music, starry fire,
High above all our noise and glare :
The image of our long desire,
The beauty, and the strength, are there.
And Plato's thought lives, true and clear,
In as august a sphere :
Perchance, far higher.
19 B 2
In Falmouth Harbour
The large, calm harbour lies below
Long terraced lines of circling light ;
Without, the deep sea currents flow :
And here are stars, and night.
No sight, no sound, no living stir,
But such as perfect the still bay :
So hushed it is, the voyager
Shrinks at the thought of day.
We glide by many a lanterned mast ;
Our mournful horns blow wild to warn
Yon looming pier : the sailors cast
Their ropes, and watch for morn.
Strange murmurs from the sleeping town,
And sudden creak of lonely oars
Crossing the water, travel down
The roadstead, the dim shores.
IN FALMOUTH HARBOUR
A charm is on the silent bay;
Charms of the sea, charms of the land.
Memories of open wind convey
Peace to this harbour strand.
Far off, Saint David's crags descend
On seas of desolate storm : and far
From this pure rest, the Land's drear End,
And ruining waters, are.
Well was it worth to have each hour
Of high and perilous blowing wind :
For here, for now, deep peace hath power
To conquer the worn mind.
I have passed over the rough sea,
And over the white harbour bar :
And this is Death's dreamland to me,
Led hither by a star.
And what shall the dawn be ? Hush thee, nay !
Soft, soft is night, and calm and still :
Save that day cometh, what of day
Knowest thou : good, or ill ?
IN FALMOUTH HARBOUR
Content thee ! Not the annulling light
Of any pitiless dawn is here ;
Thou are alone with ancient night :
And all the stars are clear.
Only the night air, and the dream ;
Only the far, sweet-smelling wave;
The stilly sounds, the circling gleam,
And thine : and thine a grave.
Hence, by stern thoughts and strong winds borne
Voyaged, with faith that could not fail,
Who cried : Lead, kindly Light ! forlorn
Beneath a stranger sail.
Becalmed upon a classic sea ;
Wandering through eternal Rome ;
Fighting with death in Sicily :
He hungered for his home.
These northern waves, these island airs !
Dreams of these haunted his full heart :
Their love inspired his songs and prayers,
Bidding him play his part.
IN FALMOUTH HARBOUR
The freedom of the living dead ;
The service of a living pain :
He chose between them, bowed his head,
And counted sorrow, gain.
Ah, sweetest soul of all ! whose choice
Was golden with the light of lights :
But us doubt's melancholy voice,
Wandering in gloom, unites.
Ah, sweetest soul of all ! whose voice
Hailed morning, and the sun's increase
We of the restless night rejoice,
We also, at thy peace.
By the Statue of King Charles
at Charing Cross
Sombre and rich, the skies ;
Great glooms, and starry plains.
Gently the night wind sighs ;
Else avast silence reigns.
The splendid silence clings
Around me : and around
The saddest of all kings
Crowned, and again discrowned.
Comely and calm, he rides
Hard by his own Whitehall :
Only the night wind glides :
No crowds, nor rebels, brawl.
Gone, too, his Court : and yet.
The stars his courtiers are :
Stars in their stations set ;
And every wandering star.
HY THE STATUE OF KING CHARLES
Alone he rides, alone,
The fair and fatal king :
Dark night is all his own,
That strange and solemn thing.
Which are more full of fate :
The stars ; or those sad eyes ?
Which are more still and great :
Those brows ; or the dark skies ?
Although his whole heart yearn
In passionate tragedy :
Never was face so stern
With sweet austerity.
Vanquished in life, his death
By beauty made amends :
The passing of his breath
Won his defeated ends.
Brief life, and hapless ? Nay :
Through death, life grew sublime.
Speak after sentence ? Yea :
And to the end of time.
BY THE STATUE OF KING CHARLES
Armoured he rides, his head
Bare to the stars of doom :
He triumphs now, the dead,
Beholding London's gloom.
Our wearier spirit faints,
Vexed in the world's employ :
His soul was of the saints;
And art to him was joy.
King, tried in fires of woe !
Men hunger for thy grace :
And through the night I go,
Loving thy mournful face.
Yet, when the city sleeps ;
When all the cries are still :
The stars and heavenly deeps
Work out a perfect will.
The Precept of Silence
I know you : solitary griefs,
Desolate passions, aching hours
I know you : tremulous beliefs,
Agonized hopes, and ashen flowers !
The winds are sometimes sad to me ;
The starry spaces, full of fear :
Mine is the sorrow on the sea,
And mine the sigh of places drear.
Some players upon plaintive strings
Publish their wistfulness abroad :
I have not spoken of these things,
Save to one man, and unto God.
Hill and Vale
Not on the river plains
Wilt thou breathe loving air,
O mountain spirit fine !
Here the cairn soul maintains
Calm : but no joy like thine,
On hill-tops bleak and bare,
Whose breath is fierce and rare.
Were beauty all thy need,
Here were an haunt for thee.
The broad laborious weald,
An eye's delight indeed,
Spreads from rich field to field :
And full streams wander free
Under the Alder tree.
Throw thee upon the grass,
The daisied grass, and gaze
Far to the warm blue mist :
Feel, how the soft hours pass
Over, before they wist,
Into whole day : and days
Dream on in sunny haze.
HILL AND VALE
Each old, sweet, country scent
Comes, as old music might
Upon thee : old, sweet sounds
Go, as they ever went,
Over the red corn grounds :
Still sweeping scythes delight
Charmed hearing and charmed sight.
Gentle thy life would be :
To watch at morning dew
Fresh water-lilies : tell,
How bears the walnut tree :
Find the first foxglove bell,
Spare the last harebell blue :
And wander the wold through.
Another love is thine :
For thee the far world spied
From the far mountain top :
Keen scented, sounding pine,
The purple heather crop :
And night's great glorious tide
Of stars and clouds allied.
Mystic and Cavalier
Go from me : I am one of those, who fall.
What ! hath no cold wind swept your heart at all,
In my sad company ? Before the end,
Go from me, dear my friend !
Yours are the victories of light : your feet
Rest from good toil, where rest is brave and sweet.
But after warfare in a mourning gloom,
I rest in clouds of doom.
Have you not read so, looking in these eyes ?
Is it the common light of the pure skies,
Lights up their shadowy depths ? The end is set :
Though the end be not yet.
When gracious music stirs, and all is bright,
And beauty triumphs through a courtly night ;
When I too joy, a man like other men :
Yet, am I like them, then ?
MYSTIC AND CAVALIER
And in the battle, when the horsemen sweep
Against a thousand deaths, and fall on sleep :
Who ever sought that sudden calm, if I
Sought not ? Yet, could not die.
Seek with thine eyes to pierce this crystal sphere :
Canst read a fate there, prosperous and clear ?
Only the mists, only the weeping clouds :
Dimness, and airy shrouds.
Beneath, what angels are at work ? What powers
Prepare the secret of the fatal hours ?
See ! the mists tremble, and the clouds are stirred
When comes the calling word ?
The clouds are breaking from the crystal ball,
Breaking and clearing : and I look to fall.
When the cold winds and airs of portent sweep,
My spirit may have sleep.
rich and sounding voices of the air !
Interpreters and prophets of despair :
Priests of a fearful sacrament ! I come,
To make with you mine home.
The wind, hark ! the wind in the angry woods
And low clouds purple the west : there broods
Thunder, thunder ; and rain will fall ;
Fresh fragrance cling to the wind from all
Roses holding water wells,
Laurels gleaming to the gusty air ;
Wilding mosses of the dells,
Drenched hayfields, and dripping hedgerows fair
The wind, hark ! the wind dying again :
The wind's voice matches the far-off main,
In sighing cadences : Pan will wake,
Pan in the forest, whose rich pipes make
Music to the folding flowers,
In the pure eve, where no hot spells are :
Those be favourable hours
Hymned by Pan beneath the shepherd star.
Immemorial Holy Land !
At thine hand, thy sons await
Any fate : they understand
Thee, the all compassionate.
Be it death for thee, they grieve
Nought, to leave the light aside :
Thou their pride, they undeceive
Death, by death unterrified.
Mother, dear and fair to us,
Ever thus to be adored !
Is thy sword grown timorous,
Mother of misericord ?
For thy dead is grief on thee ?
Can it be, thou dost repent,
That they went, thy chivalry,
Those sad ways magnificent ?
What, and if their heart's blood flow?
Gladly so, with love divine,
Since not thine the overthrow,
They thy fields incarnadine.
Hearts afire with one sweet flame,
One loved name, thine host adores :
Conquerers, they overcame
Death, high Heaven's inheritors.
For their loyal love, nought less,
Than the stress of death, sufficed :
Now with Christ, in blessedness,
Triumph they, imparadised.
Mother, with so dear blood stained !
Freedom gained through love befall
Thee, by thraldom unprofaned,
Perfect and imperial !
Still the ancient voices ring :
Faith they bring, and fear repel.
Time shall tell thy triumphing,
Victress and invincible !
Ten years ago I heard ; ten, have I loved ;
Thine haunting voice borne over the waste sea.
Was it thy melancholy spirit moved
Mine, with those gray dreams, that invested thee ?
Or was it, that thy beauty first reproved
The imperfect fancies, that looked fair to me ?
Thou hast both secrets : for to thee are known
The fatal sorrows binding life and death :
And thou hast found, on winds of passage blown,
That music, which is sorrow's perfect breath :
So, all thy beauty takes a solemn tone,
And art, in all thy melancholy saith.
Now therefore is thy voice abroad for me,
When through dark woodlands murmuring
sounds make way :
Thy voice, and voices of the sounding sea,
Stir in the branches, as none other may :
All pensive loneliness is full of thee,
And each mysterious, each autumnal day.
Hesperian soul ! Well hadst thou in the West
Thine hermitage and meditative place :
In mild, retiring fields thou wast at rest,
Calmed by old winds, touched with aerial grace :
Fields, whence old magic simples filled thy breast,
And unforgotten fragrance balmed thy face.
Sweet music lingers
From her harpstrings on her fingers,
When they rest in mine :
And her clear glances
Help the music, whereto dances,
Trembling with an hope divine,
Every heart : and chiefly mine.
Could she discover
All her heart to any lover,
She who sways them all ?
Yet her hand trembles,
Laid in mine : and scarce dissembles,
That its music looks to fall
Into mine, and Love end all.
Deep music of the ancient forest !
Through glades and coverts with thy magic
And in the silence of our hushed hearts finding
Tremulous echoes of thy murmur,
Unshapen thoughts thronging and throbbing :
O music of the mystery, that embraces
All forest depths, and footless far-off places !
Thou art the most high voice of nature,
Thou art the voice of unseen singers,
Vanishing ever deeper through the clinging
Thickets, and under druid branches winging
A flight, that draws our eyes to follow :
Yet, following, find they only forest ;
But lonely forest, stately melancholy,
A consecrated stillness, old and holy ;
Commanding us to hail with homage
Powers, that we see not, hid in beauty :
A majesty im measurable ; a glorious
Conclave of angels : wherewithal victorious,
The Lord of venerable forests,
Murmuring sanctuaries and cloisters,
Proclaims his kingdom over our emotion :
Even as his brother Lord of the old ocean
Thunders tremendous laws, in tempest
Embattled between winds and waters.
O mighty friendship of mysterious forces,
O servants of one Will ! Stars in their courses,^"
Flowers in their fragrance, in their music
Winged winds, and lightnings in their fierceness
These are the world's magnalities and splendours
At touch of these, the adoring spirit renders
Glory, and praise, and passionate silence.
The Dark Angel
Dark Angel, with thine aching lust
To rid the world of penitence :
Malicious Angel, who still dost
My soul such subtile violence !
Because of thee, no thought, no thing,
Abides for me undesecrate :
Dark Angel, ever on the wing,
Who never readiest me too late !
When music sounds, then changest thou
Its silvery to a sultry fire :
Nor will thine envious heart allow
Delight untortured by desire.
Through thee, the gracious Muses turn
To Furies, O mine Enemy !
And all the things of beauty burn
With flames of evil ecstasy,
THE DARK ANGEL
Because of thee, the land of dreams
Becomes a gathering place of fears :
Until tormented slumber seems
One vehemence of useless tears.
When sunlight glows upon the flowers,
Or ripples down the dancing sea :
Thou, with thy troop of passionate powers,
Beleaguerest, bewilderest, me.
Within the breath of autumn woods,
Within the winter silences :
Thy venomous spirit stirs and broods,
O Master of impieties !
The ardour of red flame is thine,
And thine the steely soul of ice :
Thou poisonest the fair design
Of nature, with unfair device.
Apples of ashes, golden bright ;
Waters of bitterness, how sweet !
O banquet of a foul delight,
Prepared by thee, dark Paraclete
THE DARK ANGEL
Thou art the whisper in the gloom,
The hinting tone, the haunting laugh :
Thou art the adorner of my tomb,
The minstrel of mine epitaph.
I fight thee, in the Holy Name !
Yet, what thou dost, is what God saith
Tempter ! should I escape thy flame,
Thou wilt have helped my soul from Death :
The second Death, that never dies,
That cannot die, when time is dead :
Live Death, wherein the lost soul cries,
Dark Angel, with thine aching lust
Of two defeats, of two despairs :
Less dread, a change to drifting dust,
Than thine eternity of cares.
Do what thou wilt, thou shalt not so,
Dark Angel ! triumph over me :
Lonely, unto the Lone I go ;
Divine, to the Divinity.
Visions, to sear with flame his worn and haunted eyes,
Throng him : and fears unknown invest the black
His royal reason fights with undefeated Powers,
Armies of mad desires, legions of wanton lies ;
His ears are full of pain, because of their fierce cries :
Nor from his tended thoughts, for all their fruits and
Comes solace : for Philosophy within her bowers
Falls faint, and sick to death. Therefore Lucretius
Dead ! And his deathless death hath him, so still and
No change upon the deep, no change upon the earth,
None in the wastes of nature, the starred wilderness.
Wandering flames and thunders of the shaken dark :
Among the mountain heights, winds wild with stormy
These were before, and these will be : no more, no
My windows open to the autumn night,
In vain I watched for sleep to visit me :
How should sleep dull mine ears, and dim my sight,
Who saw the stars, and listened to the sea ?
Ah, how the City of our God is fair !
If, without sea, and starless though it be,
For joy of the majestic beauty there,
Men shall not miss the stars, nor mourn the sea.
The Church of a Dream
Sadly the dead leaves rustle in the whistling wind,
Around the weather-worn, gray church, low down the
The Saints in golden vesture shake before the gale ;
The glorious windows shake, where still they dwell
Old Saints, by long dead, shrivelled hands, long since
There still, although the world autumnal be, and pale,
Still in their golden vesture the old saints prevail ;
Alone with Christ, desolate else, left by mankind.
Only one ancient Priest offers the Sacrifice,
Murmuring holy Latin immemorial :
Swaying with tremulous hands the old censer full of
In gray, sweet incense clouds ; blue, sweet clouds
To him, in place of men, for he is old, suffice
Melancholy remembrances and vesperal.
The Age of a Dream
Imageries of dreams reveal a gracious age :
Black armour, falling lace, and altar lights at morn.
The courtesy of Saints, their gentleness and scorn,
Lights on an earth more fair, than shone from Plato's
The courtesy of knights, fair calm and sacred rage :
The courtesy of love, sorrow for love's sake borne.
Vanished, those high conceits ! Desolate and forlorn,
We hunger against hope for that lost heritage.
Gone now, the carven work ! Ruined, the golden
No more the glorious organs pour their voice divine ;
No more rich frankincense drifts through the Holy
Now from the broken tower, what solemn bell still
Mourning what piteous death ? Answer, O saddened
Who mourn the death of beauty and the death of
Now these lovers twain be dead,
And together buried :
Masses only shall be said.
Hush thee, weary melancholy !
Music comes, more rich and holy :
Through the aged church shall sound
Words, by ancient prophets found ;
Burdens in an ancient tongue,
By the fasting Mass-priest sung.
Gray, without, the autumn air :
But pale candles here prepare,
Pale as wasted golden hair.
Let the quire with mourning descant
Cry : In pace requiescant !
For they loved the things of God.
Now, where solemn feet have trod,
Sleep they well : and wait the enc?,
Lover by lover, friend by friend.
They wrong with ignorance a royal choice,
Who cavil at my loneliness and labour :
For them, the luring wonder of a voice,
The viol's cry for them, the harp and tabour :
For me divine austerity,
And voices of philosophy.
Ah ! light imaginations, that discern
No passion in the citadel of passion :
Their fancies lie on flowers ; but my thoughts turn
To thoughts and things of an eternal fashion :
The majesty and dignity
Of everlasting verity.
Mine is the sultry sunset, when the skies
Tremble with strange, intolerable thunder :
And at the dead of an hushed night, these eyes
Draw down the soaring oracles winged with wonder:
From the four winds they come to me,
The Angels of Eternity.
Men pity me ; poor men, who pity me !
Poor, charitable, scornful souls of pity !
I choose laborious loneliness : and ye
Lead Love in triumph through the dancing city :
While death and darkness girdle me,
I grope for immortality.
All the annulling clouds, that lie
Far in wait for years to come,
Shall not force me to forget
All the witcheries of home,
While in the world there linger yet
Heliotrope and Mignonette :
In their scent home cannot die.
When the delicate dewdrops gleamed
Tremulous on the early blooms ;
The full sweetness of the dawn,
Gathered during twilight glooms,
Rose above the fields and lawn,
Ravishing me with fragrance, drawn
From each flower, that there had dreamed.
Then was innocent glory shed
All about the garden ground :
Gods of Helicon well had paced
By the laurels, and around
The bright lawn ; nor deemed disgraced
Their high Godhead, nor misplaced
Their descent, since thither led.
By a maze of gossamer dew
Measured, lay the pasture leas :
Ruddy gray the sunlight glanced
Through the rippling poplar trees,
On the airy webs, were chanced
Dainty faery feet had danced
Without noise, the soft night through.
That was morn indeed ! And yet,
Gone the wondrous witchery ;
Gone the charm, the enchauntment gone ;
Still to aging memory
Come the scents, the lights, that shone,
That were sweet : dreams lie upon
Heliotrope and mignonette.
51 D 2
Stronger than remembered looks,
Nearer than old written words,
Cling the loved old fragrances
At the matin time of birds,
Giving birth to memories :
Not one fancy perishes,
Born before we woke to books.
All will come again : once more
We shall fling our arms upon
Morning's wind, and ravish yet
All its load of incense, won
From rich wilding mignonette,
Clustered heliotrope, and we
Meadows, O fair years of yore
They do the will of beauty and regret,
Odours and travelling faery fragrances :
The breath of things, I never can forget,
The haunting spirit of old memories.
Gray grows the visible world ; fair cadences
Break into death : sweet are the field flowers yet.
Softly at evening, hard upon twilight,
Old earth breathes balmy air on hushing winds,
And takes with ravishment the face of night.
Pensive and solitary old age finds
Calm in the vesperal, mild air, that minds
His dwindling hour, of childhood's far delight.
A breath, a thought, a dream ! Ah, what a choir
Of long stilled voices : and of long closed eyes,
What a light ! So came, so mine heart's desire
Came through the pinewood, where the sunlight dies
To-night. Since now these fragrant memories
Live, lives not also she, their soul of fire ?
Solemn, dark hills bastion pale,
Solemn reaches of calm lake :
And night is nearing.
Stilly-souled you speak not, steering
Our light vessel toward the vale,
Where the ripples break.
See ! the vesper light : the star
Softest-fired of stars. Heaven fills :
Soon all the starry
Lights will flood all visionary
Haunted valley glooms, that are
High among the hills.
How the last cries fall away
From the far and resting fields,
And linger faintly
Through the woodland glades : how saintly
Shows the death of this fair day;
With what sad grace yields !
Only down the shoreland wails
A lone plover : down the mere
Her way is winging
A white owl. Else were there clinging
Perfect silence round our sails,
As you sit and steer.
Upon Reading Certain Poems
I come, a lost wind from the shores
Of wondering dull miser)' :
With muttered echoes, heartsick plaints.
And sullen sorrows, filling me.
But all this flowery world abhors
Me, wretched wind and heavy cloud :
Beneath me, as beneath a shroud.
The spirit of summer faints.
The golden angel of delight
Gleams past me, and I shrink away :
A dimness on the dawn am I ,
A mist upon the merry day.
Here should be none but Muses bright.
Whose airs go delicately sweet :
With swallow wings, and faery feet,
Eager to dance or fly.
I will drift back to Wearyland,
To wondering viull misery :
No champaign rich, nor rosy lawn,
Shall wither by the fault of me.
Where no one takes loved hand in hand,
But with his shadow crawls alone :
They miss the comfort of my moan.
My melancholy long-drawn.
Through glades and glooms ! Oh, fair ! Oh, sad !
The paths of song, that led through these
Thy feet, that once were free and glad
To wander beneath Winton trees !
Now in soft shades of sleep they tread
By ways and waters of the dead,
There tender Otway walks with thee,
And Browne, not strange among the dead :
By solemn sounding waters ye,
By willow vallies, gently led,
Think on old memories of her,
Courtly and cloistral Winchester.
So memory's mingled measure flows,
In shadowy dream and twilight trance :
Past death, to dawn of manhood, goes
Thy spirit's unforgetting glance ;
Through glades and glooms ! And hails at last
The lovely scenes long past : long past.
When I had thought to make an home with sorrow,
A gentle, melancholy dwelling;
And there to linger life with telling
Over old fancies of some fair to-morrow :
Sudden, there broke about my way
Laughter, and flowers, and break of day.
Sing, Guardian Angel ! One is come, who takes me
Home to the land of loving voices :
And there my risen heart rejoices
To tell each sorrow over, that forsakes me ;
And all the unimagined songs,
That a child's carolling voice prolongs.
You were not cruel Always ! Nay,
When I said Come ! one year ago :
Could you have lingered by the way ?
Did not the very wind seem slow?
Then, had you tarried, I had known
Nor love's delight, nor lost love's pain
Then, always had I lived alone.
Now, you need never come again.
From his Latin epitaph in the Cloisters of Winchester
Here lies John Chalkhill : years two scon\
A Fellow here, and then, no more !
Long life, of chaste and sober mood.
Of silence and of solitude;
Of plenteous alms of plenteous prayer,
Of sanctity and inward care :
So lived the Church's early fold,
So saintly anchorites of old.
A little child, he did begin
The Heaven of Heavens by storm to win :
At eighty years he entered in.
Hawker of Morwenstow
Strong Shepherd of thy sheep, pasturers of the sea ;
Far on the Western marge, thy passionate Cornish land !
Oh, that from out thy Paradise thou could'st thine hand
Reach forth to mine, and I might tell my love to thee !
For one the faith, and one the joy, of thee and me,
Catholic faith and Celtic joy : I understand
Somewhat, I too, the Messengers from Sion strand ;
The voices and the visions of the Mystery.
Ah, not the Chaunt alone was thine : thine too the
And at the last Sangraal of the Paschal Christ
Flashed down its fair red Glory to those dying eyes ;
They closed in death, and opened on the Victim's
Now, while they look forever on the Sacrificed,
Remember, how thine ancient race in twilight lies !
To a Friend
Sweet, hard and wise, your choice so early made,
To cast the world away, a derelict :
To wear within the pure and austere shade
The sacred sable of Saint Benedict.
I give you praise : give me your better prayers,
The nothingness, which you have flung away,
To me seems full of fond delightful cares,
Visions, and dangers of the crowded day.
Give me your prayers : you keep no oiher wealth,
And therefore are the wealthiest of my friends.
So shall you lure me by an holy stealth
At last into the Land, where wandering ends.
In Memoriam: Ernest Dowson.
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es !
To-day the cross of ashes marks my brow :
Yesterday, laid to solemn sleep wert thou,
O dear to me of old, and dearer now !
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es I
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es !
And all the subtile beauty of that face,
With all its winning, all its wistful grace,
Fades in the consecrated stilly place :
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es !
Memento, homo, quia pulvis cs !
The visible vehement earth remains to me :
The visionary quiet land holds thee :
But what shall separate such friends as we ?
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es I
In Memory ok Austin Farrand, Killed in the
South African War.
Now hath Death dealt a generous violence,
Calling thee swiftly hence,
By the like instrument of instant fire,
To join thy heart's desire,
Thy brother, slain before thee ; but whom thou,
Slain friend ! regainest now.
True brother wast thou, whom from his dear side
Death did not long divide.
How often, till the golden stars grew dim,
Our speech was but of him,
Exiled beneath those Afric stars, whose deep
Radiance adorns your sleep !
Fair warrior brothers, excellently dead,
Your loyal lifeblood shed,
In death's gray distant land do thou and he
Keep any mind of me,
Of old days filled with laughter of delight
And many a laughing night ?
Yes ! for although your stars in storm have set,
Nor you, nor I, forget :
Earthward you long and lean, earthward : and I
Toward your eternity.
Death cannot conquer all ; your love and mine
Lives, deathlessly divine :
You wait, I wait, a little while we wait :
And then, the wide-flung Gate,
The impassioned Heavens, the white horsed,
The chaunting on the heights,
The beauty of the Bright and Morning Star !
Then, burst our prison bar,
Shall we for evermore each other see,
We three, we happy three,
Where, in the white perfection of God's peace,
Old love shall find increase.
In faith and hope endure our hearts till then :
Amen I Amen !
25- LOVES FUGITIVES. By ELIZABETH GmsoK.
26. AN AUTUMN ROMANCE. By Alice Maddock.
27. THE TRAGEDY OF ASGARD. By Victor Plarr.
28. THE NETS OF LOVE. By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson.
29. POEMS IN PROSE. From Charles Baudelaire. Trans-
lated by Arthur Symons.
SEA DANGER, AND OTHER POEMS. By R. T. Keatinge.
SHADOWS. By Elizabeth Gibson.
AN HOUR OF REVERIE. By F. P. Sturm.
POEMS BY AURELIAN.
SELECTIONS FROM LIONEL JOHNSON'S POETRY.
WHISPER. By FRANCES WYNNE.
THE TENT BY THE LAKE. By FRBD. G. Bowles.
POEMS. By Harold Monro.
THE GATES OF SLEEP. By J. G. Fairfax.
THE LADY BEAUTIFUL. By Francis Ernley Walrond.
A WINDOW IN WHITECHAPEL. By Isabel Clarke.
POEMS AND TRANSLATIONS. By Arundell Esdaile
RAINBOWS AND WITCHES. By Will H. Ogilvie.
STRAY SONNETS. By Lilian Street.
THE HEART OF THE WIND. By Ruth Young.
THE BRIDGE OF FIRE. By James Flecker.
SYLVIA'S ROSE AND THE MAY MOON. By Gilbert
THE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR, AND OTHER POEMS.
By Alice Maddock.
CCEDMON'S ANGEL, AND OTHER POEMS. By
Katharine Alice Murdoch.
FRIENDSHIP. By Lilian Street.
CHRISTMAS SONGS AND CAROLS. By Agnes H.
Begbib. With seven Illustrations by Edith Calvert.
A CHRISTMAS MORALITY PLAY FOR CHILDREN.
By the Hon. Mrs. Lyttelton.
DAY DREAMS OF GREECE. By CHARLES WHARTON
THE QUATRAINS OF OMAR KHAYYAM. From a
literal prose translation by Edward Heron-Allen.
Done into Verse by Arthur B. Talbot.
54. VOX OTIOSI. By David Punlimmon.
%* Otfur Volumes in preparation.
London : ELKIN MATHEWS, Vigo Street.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES
THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
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